Innovative approaches are translating into more efficient equipment procurement for government IT departments. The benefits of new approaches far outweigh the risks.
- Hardware as a service (HaaS)
- Shared workstations
- Baseline hardware configurations
The HaaS model distributes computers, tablets, smartphones, sensors, and other devices on a cloud-like pay-as-you-go basis. It strips much of the complication out of IT equipment purchases.
With HaaS, agencies amortize purchases over a term of payments, much like leasing a car rather than buying one.
Additionally, provisioning and insuring hardware can be added to a monthly subscription rate on a managed-service basis.
The importance of carefully crafted SLAs
A primary reason IT managers hesitate to switch to an on-demand hardware model is fear of performance degradations and outright failures. Much of their concern can be mitigated by a service-level agreement (SLA) stipulating minimum acceptable levels of support and maintenance. That way, the service provider is responsible for timely equipment upgrades, which helps agencies avoid being stuck with obsolete hardware.
Relying on specialists
Treating hardware as a service can enhance troubleshooting and maintenance because of the provider’s ability to specialize. That’s why it’s a good idea to stipulate best operating practices in your SLA as well.
Likewise, service providers should have security specialists whose expertise can help you stop unauthorized access to your data and recovery experts on hand in the event of a system failure.
An opportunity to demonstrate government-IT leadership
The use-it-or-lose-it approach to IT procurement budgets often results in a muddle. Government CIOs and IT managers could, however, see the approach as an opportunity to take calculated risks regarding greater efficiency and customer service.
A six-step approach to transforming government hardware procurement offers a transparent, fact-based view of your IT operations:
1. Operating model optimization focuses on the agency’s structure and level of governance to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its current operation.
2. Service management optimization ensures the agency’s architecture is properly aligned with its IT architecture and IT service delivery processes.
3. Technology foresight/lifecycle management provides a look ahead at the technologies that will have an impact in the future through the lens of your current IT operations.
4. Complexity management examines specific IT assets from a global perspective to root out unnecessary, duplicative applications and infrastructure.
5. Sourcing practices are assessed to guarantee vendor contracts are effective in managing IT demand.
6. Offshoring/outsourcing identifies the operations that are the most likely candidates for the switch from in-house procurement to an on-demand service model.
Government IT departments have more options for meeting the hardware needs of their customers than ever before. With careful planning and a willingness to embrace new approaches to hardware procurement and management, agencies can deliver more of their data assets faster, more efficiently, more reliably, and well within their budgets.